October 2015

Well, here continues the ‘dry’ season – which means it is a bit less wet than at other times, and sometimes too hot to go out……………..the sunshine above the land can be extremely intense. Around the quarantine clinic there is an open space left in order that nothing can grow which might fall on the building; so there is little shade in the immediate vicinity!

Work has continued on the ground – more grass-clearing, and where cleared, the newly arrived tree-bark is being spread to put back some nutrients in the soil (mainly clay, to be honest) and some more trees and shrubs planted – a suitable distance away from the building. The tree bark was given as a donation to the Fundacion by a local timberyard – however we had to pay for the transport.

Whilst clearing some old timbers from the ex-shower (sadly the original jungle shower…well….. it fell down after the termites ate the foot of the poles providing the structure!), we came across a Cat-eyed Snake. This small, brown-coloured species is non-venomous. We moved it to a safer zone at the side of the new pond – which is beginning to ‘green’-up on the sides now that the ducks have been removed.

Cat-Eyed Snake

Cat-Eyed Snake

Our water dam also received some maintenance work, and one of our large water reservoirs was emptied and cleaned. The water filter on the clinic was replaced; the old one removed and placed in a bucket used a ‘frog breeding centre’! It was interesting to see how quickly the tadpoles ate the mould and algae accumulated on the old filter; maybe we can use it again (just joking!).

This month, seen on, above, and around the land have been a small group of Tamarin Monkeys, various snakes, and flocks of the White-Tailed Kites (up to 22 have been seen together) which sometimes fly quite low and close to the smaller trees in search of insects which they catch in flight. The flocks of parrots flying over have been smaller of late, although this could be a seasonal affect. Many different frog species have been spotted, and some interesting, slug-like animals have been seen on the underside of the Morete Palm fronds at night.

It has been interesting to note, as ever, that each plant growing creates its own micro-system (mini-habitat) – for example, the Heliconia, Orchids and Bromeliads. In some species, the flowers and/or leaves fill with water; insects, frogs and other animals lay their eggs in this water. The hatchlings emerge and wriggle about, some providing food for larger species. It is known that some species of animals only live on certain, specific plants. Hence we are trying to save any free-growing such plants in the areas we are clearing, and also rescuing similar from the roadside below where many fall in order to regenerate, albeit in a small way, as diverse a habitat as is possible within the constraints of our relatively small piece of land.

Several people have been asking about the health of the young girl who I mentioned was bitten by the snake, last month. I am very pleased to be able to say that she has recovered, although the wound is still healing, and she is back at school, running and playing with the other kids and smiling a lot!

Tree Damage

Tree Damage

A couple of months ago we were dealing with the issue of our neighbour cutting trees on the Fundación’s, and our re-foresting neighbour, Laurence’s, land.  We had to make two ‘denuncias’ (reports filed) – one to the Ministry of the Environment, the other to the police and civil authorities. The case with the Ministry has been resolved and they have handed down a fine of $400 to the neighbour. The case with the civil authorities continues. The Fundación has a lawyer assisting with this matter.

Currently, the Municipio of Cantón Mera (the local council authority with responsibility for the area in which we are located) is undertaking a survey/delineation of all the ‘fincas’ (land territories) in the area it governs.  We have suspected for some time that the Global Positioning Points (GPS) on our title deeds are not accurate. This survey by the Municipio will give more information on the issue, and we believe that many of our neighbours are registering their disagreements, as old lines were drawn up prior to GPS and so have been set according to custom and practice rather than accuracy. We await the outcome of this process with interest, as we believe that we have been ‘short-changed’ on our lines and that a (yet another) neighbour has been removing trees on our land rather than his own as he has intimated. We shall see………………….